Prime Minister’s father calls for him to ban big game hunt trophies from UK

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The Prime Minister’s father has called on him to bring forward laws that prevent British big game hunters from bringing home trophies of their kills from Africa.

Stanley Johnson has said it was “amazing” a debate was going on about whether or not to ban trophy hunters importing the spoils from their big game stalking expeditions.

He told a fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference on Monday that he was “pro-the Government”, and made reference to his son Boris Johnson, saying “some of my children are involved with the Government”.

But Mr Johnson called on the Government to outlaw trophy hunting imports, as it had promised in its 2019 manifesto.

Conservative Party Conference
Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the conference (Peter Byrne/PA)

He said: “When I first went to Africa there were about 400,000 to 500,000 lions and now there are 20,000 or 30,000 lions.”

Mr Johnson added: “Don’t think I am not pro-the Government. Of course I am pro-the Government. I am connected with the Government. Some of my children are involved with the Government.

“But… would you believe, this Government is still trying to make up its mind whether the measure it has promised to ban trophy hunting – and it was in the manifesto – trying to make up its mind whether this should only apply to animals who are listed in the endangered species list or whether it should apply to people who kill animals for fun.

“I think it is amazing that that debate is still going on.”

Original plans for the new law banning hunting trophies were sparked by the shooting of Cecil the Lion in 2015 by American dentist Walter Palmer at a reserve in Zimbabwe.

At the Conservative fringe event to mark World Animal Day on October 4, Mr Johnson also disagreed with Brexit-voting Tory MPs about their stance on the EU referendum.

Morley and Outwood MP Andrea Jenkyns said: “The UK’s departure from the EU has given our great country the opportunity to further advance our domestic animal welfare standards and act as a dynamic leader on the world stage.

“So I say: We are already one of the world leading in this field, but why not be number one?”

In reply, Mr Johnson spoke about his career as an MEP in the 1970s and 1980s, working with other politicians to create Europe-wide animal welfare standards.

Mr Johnson, who campaigned for remain, said: “This is one of the occasions where I am not going necessarily agree with Andrea that being out of the EU is the best possible thing in the world.”

But Bury South MP Christian Wakeford later said: “Previously 80% of animal welfare legislation came from the EU law, and I apologise for disagreeing with Stanley.”

Mr Wakeford, who recently introduced a Bill into Parliament calling for the end of fur trade imports, added: “But now that we have left the European Union and everyone who said that Brexit was going to be a race to the bottom for animal welfare legislation, they were wrong.”

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